Why Steady Love Might Lead to Unsteady Emotions
Falling in love is an adrenaline-pumped roller coaster of emotions: the butterflies, the exhilaration, the dizzying highs of finding someone who seems like a perfect match. Yet, when things settle down into a steady, comfortable rhythm, a surprising emotion often sneaks in: anxiety.
You might be asking yourself, “Everything’s going smoothly and now I’m freaking out – why?” If the idea of a calm, predictable relationship makes you uneasy, rest assured, you’re in good company.
Relationship stability usually takes place once the rip-your-clothes-off, breathless ‘honeymoon phase’ simmers down, making way for deeper understanding, trust, and a sense of increased security. Suddenly, there’s more Netflix and less chill, more cosy pyjamas and less lingerie.
This seismic shift from a fiery, impulsive beginning to the comforting cadence of a familiar, albeit less novel, routine can often cause apprehension. The diminishing spontaneity can stir up an emotional cocktail of doubt and panic, sometimes even leading us to question the relationship itself. So why does this happen?
Fear of the Unknown
During the initial stages of dating, the unknown manifests as exciting uncertainty, brimming with the thrill of the chase and the joy of getting to know someone new.
Once you become official though, this unknown transforms into questions about the future. Can it really be this perfect forever? What if conflict arises? Try to remember, just because the stage has changed doesn’t mean the play is any less gripping. It’s simply entered Act II, and the narrative is richer and more complex.
The still waters of a stable relationship provide ample room for thoughts to swim around – and sometimes, they can start swirling into whirlpools of concern. It’s essential to recognise these thoughts for what they are: mere possibilities, not realities. So, instead of believing everything you think, take a step back and focus on the present reality of your relationship.
Much like a high-stake investment, achieving stability involves taking emotional risks and embracing vulnerability. It’s natural to feel apprehensive about potential emotional hurt, but vulnerability is not a weakness, rather a display of courage.
Just as we take risks in investments, embracing vulnerability in relationships is the key to genuine intimacy and should be welcomed rather than feared.
So, how can you navigate these emotions?
1. Embrace the change
Accept that change is a part of every relationship. The initial spark of excitement and anticipation transforms into a steady flame in the long run. Recognise that stability doesn’t equate to a lack of love or passion. On the contrary, it often leads to a deeper and more profound connection.
2. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a potent tool to handle overthinking. By living in the present and appreciating the moments you share with your partner, you can stop your mind from wandering into the territory of ‘what ifs’.
3. Open communication
Open up about your feelings to your partner. Chances are they’re feeling the same way, and communicating can strengthen your bond. It’s okay to express your fears about the future, as long as you’re not letting them dictate your present.
4. Positive affirmation and self-reassurance
Harness the power of positive affirmation to transform your mindset and create new neural pathways that promote relationship well-being. Embrace the notion that it’s not only acceptable, but also desirable to feel at ease in a stable relationship.
So, shower yourself with affirmations that reinforce the healthiness of your connection, and witness how your brain rewires itself to embrace the joy of stability.
Remember, a relationship is a part of your life, not your entire life. Love and invest in yourself, too. Keep pursuing your passions and interests outside the relationship. This helps in maintaining a healthy sense of self and ensures that your happiness isn’t solely tied to your relationship.
Feeling freaked out by stability in a relationship is normal and more common than you might think. As you shift from the adrenaline rush of a new relationship to the depth of a steady one, the stakes become higher.
And contrary to popular belief, it’s okay to feel anxious, it’s okay to feel comfortable, and it’s okay to feel both simultaneously. As they say, love is a journey, not a destination – so buckle up, hold tight, and enjoy the ride.
But as we traverse through the comforting yet challenging landscape of love’s stability, let’s ask ourselves: In our pursuit of everlasting love, is it possible that we’ve become so enamoured with the idea of heart-racing passion, that the serene waters of a steadfast relationship leave us unsettled? Are we, in fact, relationship thrill-seekers mistaking tranquillity for boredom?
In the end, perhaps the only certainty is this – the heart wants what it wants. So why not let it crave the allure of stability? After all, who said stability couldn’t be fun?
Nicole Colantoni is a dating and relationship expert. As POPSUGAR Australia’s dating columnist, Nicole will share updates on dating trends, advice, and answer all your burning questions. Slide into her DMs to share what you’d like her to answer next. Nicole hosts a podcast, Love Uncensored: The Modern Guide to Dating & Relationships, which you can learn more about and listen here.